Jane Austen is one of the best-loved authors in the English language. Her novels are read worldwide and the characters and their stories are intrinsically linked with places in the English countryside. Classics like Pride and prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion made Jane Austen one of the most famous authors of all time, making the Jane Austen Industry, actual and mythical, big business in the tourist sector.
Tourists from Britain and beyond flock to England to see where Mr D’Arcy supposedly resided, or where Ms Austen herself actually was born and brought up. Her novels are so prominent in English Literature, that it can be a great to see where the stories were imagined to be played out. MoneySupermarket name a few of the best places in England to visit to get your Jane Austen fix…
Pride and Prejudice locations
Although many English scholars would contend that this is far from her best novel, the story of the romance of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr D’Arcy is, by far, her most famous novel, and each year thousands of Austen fans flock to the locations where the novel was set. And as with all her novels, the locations include a mix of actual and imaginary places.
The Peak District
Many of Jane’s novels are set in and around the Peak District in Derbyshire. Although Mr D’Arcy’s residence at Pemberley was fictional, as were the home of Mrs. Gardiner in Lambton and that of the Rev Wickham in Kympton, there are plenty of actual places mentioned in the story for Austen fans to get their teeth into.
During Elizabeth’s tour with the Gardiner family they visit the town of Matlock, a well-known spa town in Derbyshire, as well as the impressive stately home at Chatsworth, home of the Duke of Devonshire and his family.
Their travels also take them to Dovedale, often considered to be the most attractive part of the White Peak area. During the late 18th and early 19th centuries it became popular for genteel families to visit scenic places such as Dovedale because of its dramatic gorge and steep-sided slopes. It was a favourite location of the Romantic poets, who often described it as England’s Switzerland.
Elizabeth’s youngest sister, Lydia, visits Brighton in Sussex. At the end of the eighteenth century and in the early nineteenth century, Brighton gained certain notoriety owing to its association with the Prince Regent (later to become George IV) and his disreputable friends. The Brighton Pavilion dates from this period. This and the location of a temporary military camp nearby made it a place that Jane Austen herself was reluctant to visit.
However, Pride and Prejudice was not her only novel and many people do not consider it her best. And although much of it may have been set in Derbyshire, it was written, along with Emma, Mansfield Park and Sense and Sensibility, in Hampshire. As a result, there are several landmarks in that county indelibly associated with the author.
Steventon, Near Basingstoke
Jane Austen was born here in December 1775. Her father was the vicar and she lived here until she was 25, writing most of her major novels during that time. Unfortunately, the house that Jane grew up in doesn’t exist anymore, but a trip to Steventon can give you an idea of the surroundings that encouraged some of her best novels.
Jane Austen’s House & Museaum, Chawton
The Austen family moved here in 1809. She often walked in the countryside around the village and today there is a circular walk that follows in her footsteps. The village also now includes the popular Jane Austen’s House, set up to commemorate her life and including many artifacts connected to her life.
The cathedral is one of the great ecclesiastic sites in England and situated a few miles from where Jane Austen spent most of her life. After her death at the tragically young age of 41 in 1816, her remains were buried here in the north aisle.
So if you’re thinking of indulging in some trips to get a real sense of who Austen was, these are the places to go. If you’re thinking of visiting a few of these Jane Austen towns, be sure to compare prices on hotels so you get the best deals as you move from city to city.
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